Genesis Be - People Not Things in L.A.
Sensuality + Politics
In 2018, Genesis Be appeared at the Neuehouse in Hollywood for a panel conversation about her work with the Moral Courage Project. Her activism involves helping Mississippi change the Confederate symbol on the state flag. She is a fearless artist who is not afraid to show both vulnerability and leadership.
At the Neuehouse, Genesis spoke of the paintings she made after she was forced to confront death threats and social media attacks, simply for protesting the Confederate symbol, and using her own body to simulate a noose hanging. She turned to painting to sort out her fears and hopes in an illustrative way.
I wanted many people to see these paintings and learn about her work, so I approached Genesis Be after her presentation, and offered to help her show the art in L.A. She was very passionate about such an idea. Over the next months we planned and committed to a March 1 opening at TAG Gallery. TAG is an artists’ collective that allows members to curate exhibits.
Collaborating with Genesis Be, and her colleague Rae Maxwell, has been one of the most fulfilling events in my work as a curator. In late February, Genesis arrived at TAG with most of her paintings from New York and Atlanta. She produced two large scale paintings during her studio time at TAG. Cataloging and installing her work revealed what a confident and unique style she has developed. Her painting, “My State Flag” encapsulates her conceptual message, and her painterly approach to the medium.
Genesis has a unique mark, a melodic staccato in black, that she applies to her increasingly abstract canvases. This pattern also appears in a few of her figurative works. The marks symbolize the barriers between people. The miniature Jinn figures appear in her earliest work. Many of the paintings in this exhibit address violence and injustices around the world.
Genesis includes more than political acumen in her subjects, she also paints women with love and passion. Her paintings incorporate a sensual manifestation of her spirit. Her figurative painting “Nunchaku” is wrapped in warm, yellow-gold hues that evoke a classic Polynesian landscape. The chromatic palette in this work is masterful, and reveals a deep admiration for the sensual female as subject.
On the day of the exhibit opening, Genesis installed 6 fuzzy brown pillows for her guests. They welcome people to sit and enjoy her audio-visual presentation. She has also created warm sweatshirts and hoodies with her political work printed on them. These are available on her website, http://peoplenotthings.com, and one gentleman recently purchased many of her shirts to support her message, and to bring her People Not Things exhibit to more cities.
Genesis Be’s work epitomizes the truth that politics is life. The political art she makes is delivered with sensuality in paint, music and film. -K W Sarrow